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Propulsion Engineer, Structural Analyst (Merlin)



hawthorne, ca, usa
Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2024

SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.


This role will focus primarily on the structural analysis of engine parts to inform design decisions, and ensure reliability, performance and reuse requirements are met. Merlin Propulsion Engineers are all responsible for ensuring flightworthiness of engine hardware and software throughout the life cycle—from initial build, through acceptance testing, and into flight (and re-flight) operations. Additionally, you will be responsible for driving reliability-improving and rate-enabling initiatives to maintain the long-term success of Falcon as the most-flown, most-reliable launch vehicle in existence.


  • Perform thermal, thermo-mechanical, dynamic and durability (fatigue/fracture) analyses on Merlin engines to inform design decisions and ensure reliability, performance, and reuse requirements are met.
  • Take an extremely practical, hands-on approach to model validation/verification, ensuring that model predictions are tied firmly to reality and test data, and make improvements to the engine design.
  • Support ongoing design, manufacturing and reliability improvements to the engine, and ensure the changes are properly qualified.
  • Support the resolution of issues encountered with during manufacturing, testing, flight operations or engine refurbishment in a timely fashion.


  • Bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • 1+ years of experience related to structural analysis
  • 1+ years of experience with Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and commercial tools such as ANSYS
  • 1+ years of experience related to combustion devices or rocket engine development


  • Master’s degree in an engineering discipline
  • Strong fundamentals in structural mechanics, thermo-mechanical, random vibration, fatigue and fracture
  • Strong fluid flow and heat transfer fundamentals. Experience with CFD or fluent is not required, but value-added
  • Hands-on experience with rocket engines, automotive engine design, dynamic or complex static fluid systems, etc.
  • Professional experience using Siemens NX (Unigraphics) and GD&T
  • Experience with manufacturing processes such as CNC mill/lathe, welding, castings, additive, etc. Proficient with the fundamentals of Design for Manufacturing/Assembly (DFMA)
  • Project experience or full professional engineering lifecycle experience (design trade, CAD design, prototyping, manufacturing, testing, qualification, production, reuse) is desired
  • Experience making risk evaluations and/or supporting root cause investigations.


  • Willingness to travel on occasion in support of testing
  • Willingness to work extended hours and weekends as needed to resolve critical technical issues


Pay range:

Level I: $95,000.00 - $115,000.00/per year

Level II: $110,000.00 - $130,000.00/per year

Your actual level and base salary will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the following considerations: job-related knowledge and skills, education, and experience.

Base salary is just one part of your total rewards package at SpaceX. You may also be eligible for long-term incentives, in the form of company stock, stock options, or long-term cash awards, as well as potential discretionary bonuses and the ability to purchase additional stock at a discount through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan. You will also receive access to comprehensive medical, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k) retirement plan, short and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, paid parental leave, and various other discounts and perks. You may also accrue 3 weeks of paid vacation and will be eligible for 10 or more paid holidays per year. Exempt employees are eligible for 5 days of sick leave per year.


  • To conform to U.S. Government export regulations, applicant must be a (i) U.S. citizen or national, (ii) U.S. lawful, permanent resident (aka green card holder), (iii) Refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157, or (iv) Asylee under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here.

SpaceX is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with SpaceX is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

Applicants wishing to view a copy of SpaceX’s Affirmative Action Plan for veterans and individuals with disabilities, or applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application/interview process should notify the Human Resources Department at (310) 363-6000.